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Why What We Have is Never Enough

By JLP | May 2, 2007

Today’s Getting Going column by Jonathan Clements is about Why What You Have is Never Enough (free). One part of the article sounds EXACTLY like me:

If we buy the weekly groceries just after we’ve had lunch, we will shop much more selectively. The downside: A few days later, we will be staring unhappily into an empty refrigerator.

Ever done that before? I have!

Anyway, the article brought up a question that I would like to ask you:

What makes you happy? Do “things” make you happy? If so, how long does the feeling last?

I have to say that as I have gotten older, I have realized that “things” don’t really matter that much. I remember when I was a kid I LOVED Porsches. They were my absolute favorite car. I remember telling myself that someday I was going to have a Porsche. Well guess what, I’m 37 years old and I STILL don’t have a Porsche nor do I have the desire to go out and buy one. I would much rather have something that is much more practical. So, here’s a more mature list of what makes me happy:

1. Seeing my wife smile

2. Seeing my kids smile

3. Helping people

4. Reading

5. Going to church

6. Sitting around with my family, doing nothing

7. Watching the kids play (nicely)

It’s funny how most of them have nothing to do with money.

Topics: Getting Going, Jonathan Clements, Personal Growth | 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Why What We Have is Never Enough”

  1. FMF Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    My list is similar to yours.

    BTW, does #7 happen often for you? ;-)

  2. JLP Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    FMF,

    7. Watching the kids play (nicely)

    No, unfortunately with two boys 17 months apart in age, playing nicely together doesn’t happen too often. It’s nice when it does though.

  3. Miguel Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I like your list. Also like you, I promised myself I would get a Porsche someday and I’m now 40-something and it still hasn’t happened yet. Unlike you, however, I though I still really want one. But I am put off, not only by the $100K price-tag (for the model I really want) but also the ongoing expense of keeping a car in NYC. I calculate that garage and insurance alone would amount to $700-$800 per month.

    Plus, car-owning friends tell me that when you park in a garage and turn your keys over to the attendant, there’s no telling what happens to your car. A car like that is bound to be taken out for a little cruise from time to time (the garage guys probably consider it a perk of the trade). This, plus all the attention it would attract from unsavory characters – whether they want the whole car, just figure there must be something worth stealing inside, or just want to act out their envy by keying your nice new paint finish.

    The whole point of this is that material possessions can come with a lot of headaches. This is part of what makes things less enjoyable than we thought they would be – they often add unexpected complexity to our lives. Sometimes, it’s better to just take the path of simplicity.

  4. Kim L Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    A variety of things make me happy and some of them do have to do with money.

    1. Seeing my children pleased with themselves because they did something they thought they couldn’t do.

    2. My husband doing something nice for me just because he wanted to.

    3. My kids telling me they love me for absolutely no reason at all.

    4. Getting something accomplished around the house without getting in to more debt.

    5. Being able to go on a family vacation without getting in to more debt.

    6. Feeling like I finally have some financial breathing room to finally donate some more money througout the year.

    And last but not least …

    7. Not being totally obsessed with our debt anymore since a lot of it got paid off!

  5. Sam Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Here are a few of my favorite things . .
    1. Getting hugs from my grandkids.
    2. Sitting in my den listening to LP records on my music system with the volume turned up.
    3. Sharing a bottle of wine with my wife, as we sit in our back yard and watch the birds at the feeders, while the sun sets.
    4. Having dinner at home with friends and family.
    5. Taking a road trip down a deserted two lane highway, when you aren’t in a hurry to get somewhere.
    6. Doing the Lord’s work.
    7. Reading blogs.

  6. Jim Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 6:59 am

    I’m reminded of the wise saying of a man I used to work for, a Fortune 500 VP, “We’re all poor, just at different levels!” Proof that things don’t satisfy. In fact I am in my 60’s and retired and I have traveled a good distance down the life trail. I am now happiest when two of my sons who previously fought with one another and did not like each other, now are best friends. When my wife who struggled with raising four tough-to-manage kids now delights in their successes and her role as a friend and adviser. I owned my own airplane after taking flight lessons from one of my sons. Result? I treasure the time together that he spent teaching me. The plane is now gone because IT did not bring happiness and was too expensive. Another item that gives me a thrill, that drive that lands in the fairway and that approach shot that hits the green in regulation. It’s fun! Yep, sitting with my wife of 37 years with a glass of wine and reminiscing while the sun is setting is pure joy. Praise God!

  7. db Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Here are some of the top things that make me happy:

    1. A good book over a good cup of tea
    2. My little dog curled up next to me; or watching him do something when you can tell he’s having a ball
    3. Time with my parents
    4. Time spent with friends
    5. Catching sight of a beautiful tree or garden
    6. The fragrance of certain plants
    7. Doing my painting
    8. Cooking a simple, delicious meal
    9. Watching one of my few favorite television programs
    10. Paying debt and saving money!!!

    DB

  8. DennisTheMenance Says:
    June 4th, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    What makes you Happy…

    #3- Helping People

    Money isn’t mentioned….

    Well, have to disagree with you on this part..
    why..
    #1- In Most cases…You have to have Money to help Others
    > Do Charities function on goodwill? Good Intentions, Volunteers alone?
    > Does good Will create reserach Centers to develope new drugs and cures?
    > Andhow about Feeding the Poor?
    > And don’t you find that the Majoirty of Helpers are the Wealthy? Why? they can afford to Help, they have enough to take care of themselves and now can devote time and extra money they have to helping others..
    >What % of Age groups do the most volunteering? Ans> Seniors..why? they have enough money to be able to retire and thus have either Time and/or money to Help others..
    > Reading? A Good Book? Do those books Come Free?

    Sorry Jon… But Money Plays a Major role in what makes people happy…

  9. Steve Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 10:00 am

    What Makes Me Happy

    1. Simple play time with my 5 year old son.

    2. Time with family and friends.

    3. A hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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